Date: Tue Feb 17 1998 - 08:36:16 EST

On Sat 14 Feb 98 (00:31:36), wrote:
[Begin Snip]
>?1Tim 3:2 1Tim 3:12 Titus 1:6
>?There seems to be a question as to how this is interpreted. Is this any
>?less ambiguous than the English phrase "one wife"? I've heard people
>?say that it "obviously" means one wife at a time, but I've heard others
>?say that it means not remarried, and still others say never divorced.
>?Does the Greek phrase clearly mean one of these to the exclusion of the
[End Snip]

Then Revd Ben Crick wrote:
[Begin Snip]
>MIAS GUNAIKOS ANDRA, a one-wife husband. It appears that no Christian in
>1st century would be permitted to have more than one wife at a time; so it
>cannot be a prohibition of polygamy for Church officers.
[End Snip]

Interestingly, our missionaries in Kenya have run into this very problem,
and I suspect the same 1st century situation was the genesis of this verse.
It is not unusual for a new convert to have more than one wife. Obviously,
before being admitted to the church, they must put away the wives who were
not the first one. In Kenyan socity, however, the family of the one(s)
that are put away are *very* insulted, possibly even to the jeopardy of the
husband's life. The put away wife will often not be accepted back into her
parents home. This, and the fact that he did vow to support her,
necessitates that the (formerly) polygamous husband continue to provide for
her, even though she is not (no longer?) his wife. I believe that this is
the state of those who cannot properly serve, as he is not "the husband of
one wife." Let's not forget that our settled "christianized?" culture can
have totally different challenges than the mission field! How may of you
pastors question potential members about how many wives they have? (As is
now standard in our Kenyan mission churches!)

Bret R. Rolan P.E.

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